CBG Faculty

Robert E Maxson, PhD
Robert E Maxson, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine
Medicine
NOR 5334 1441 Eastlake Avenue Health Sciences Campus Los Angeles
The overall interest of the Maxson laboratory is the molecular genetic basis of embryonic pattern formation. We focus on processes that regulate the development of the calvaria, the flat bones that compose the top of the skull. These bones are derived from populations of neural crest and mesoderm that undergo extensive migration and proliferation as they develop into the exquisitely patterned calvarial bones. Between the bones are sutures, fibrous structures that form flexible joints uniting the bones, and that also serve as sources of stem cells that enable the bones to grow in coordination with the brain.

Using genetic approaches in humans and mice, we have identified several genes that participate in the development of the calvarial bones and sutures. These include MSX2, which when mutated causes craniosynostosis, the fusion of the calvarial bones at the sutures, and Twist1, also required for suture development.

Our most recent work involves an interaction between Twist1 and a related transcription factor, Tcf12. This interaction has a central role in the development of the coronal suture as well as in the pathophysiology of Saethre-Chotzen syndrome, a human disorder that results in craniosynostosis. We have investigated this interaction in mice, and in a collaboration with Gage Crump, in zebrafish. Current work focuses on how Twist1 and Tcf12 influence osteogenic precursor proliferation and differentiation, and how deficiencies in these processes lead to craniosynostosis.

Culturing and Manipulation of O9-1 Neural Crest Cells J Vis Exp. 2018 Oct 09; (140). . View in PubMed

Msx2 Supports Epidermal Competency during Wound-Induced Hair Follicle Neogenesis J Invest Dermatol. 2018 Sep; 138(9):2041-2050. . View in PubMed

Altered bone growth dynamics prefigure craniosynostosis in a zebrafish model of Saethre-Chotzen syndrome Elife. 2018 10 25; 7. . View in PubMed

Requirement for Jagged1-Notch2 signaling in patterning the bones of the mouse and human middle ear Sci Rep. 2017 05 31; 7(1):2497. . View in PubMed

Yap and Taz play a crucial role in neural crest-derived craniofacial development Development. 2016 Feb 01; 143(3):504-15. . View in PubMed

Msx1 and Msx2 function together in the regulation of primordial germ cell migration in the mouse Dev Biol. 2016 09 01; 417(1):11-24. . View in PubMed

A Mouse Model That Reproduces the Developmental Pathways and Site Specificity of the Cancers Associated With the Human BRCA1 Mutation Carrier State EBioMedicine. 2015 Oct; 2(10):1318-30. . View in PubMed

The Development of the Calvarial Bones and Sutures and the Pathophysiology of Craniosynostosis Curr Top Dev Biol. 2015; 115:131-56. . View in PubMed

Brca1 Mutations Enhance Mouse Reproductive Functions by Increasing Responsiveness to Male-Derived Scent PLoS One. 2015; 10(10):e0139013. . View in PubMed

Targeted reduction of vascular Msx1 and Msx2 mitigates arteriosclerotic calcification and aortic stiffness in LDLR-deficient mice fed diabetogenic diets Diabetes. 2014 Dec; 63(12):4326-37. . View in PubMed

TGF-ß-activated kinase 1 (Tak1) mediates agonist-induced Smad activation and linker region phosphorylation in embryonic craniofacial neural crest-derived cells J Biol Chem. 2013 May 10; 288(19):13467-80. . View in PubMed

A new role for muscle segment homeobox genes in mammalian embryonic diapause Open Biol. 2013 Apr 24; 3(4):130035. . View in PubMed

Foxc1 controls the growth of the murine frontal bone rudiment by direct regulation of a Bmp response threshold of Msx2 Development. 2013 Mar; 140(5):1034-44. . View in PubMed

Mutations in TCF12, encoding a basic helix-loop-helix partner of TWIST1, are a frequent cause of coronal craniosynostosis Nat Genet. 2013 Mar; 45(3):304-7. . View in PubMed

A stable cranial neural crest cell line from mouse Stem Cells Dev. 2012 Nov 20; 21(17):3069-80. . View in PubMed

Alterations in Brca1 expression in mouse ovarian granulosa cells have short-term and long-term consequences on estrogen-responsive organs Lab Invest. 2012 Jun; 92(6):802-11. . View in PubMed

An enhancer from the 8q24 prostate cancer risk region is sufficient to direct reporter gene expression to a subset of prostate stem-like epithelial cells in transgenic mice Dis Model Mech. 2012 May; 5(3):366-74. . View in PubMed

Conditional deletion of Msx homeobox genes in the uterus inhibits blastocyst implantation by altering uterine receptivity Dev Cell. 2011 Dec 13; 21(6):1014-25. . View in PubMed

Jagged1 functions downstream of Twist1 in the specification of the coronal suture and the formation of a boundary between osteogenic and non-osteogenic cells Dev Biol. 2010 Nov 15; 347(2):258-70. . View in PubMed

Inactivation of Msx1 and Msx2 in neural crest reveals an unexpected role in suppressing heterotopic bone formation in the head Dev Biol. 2010 Jul 01; 343(1-2):28-39. . View in PubMed

Ribosomal analysis of rapid rates of protein synthesis in the Antarctic sea urchin Sterechinus neumayeri Biol Bull. 2010 Feb; 218(1):48-60. . View in PubMed

Changes in the mouse estrus cycle in response to BRCA1 inactivation suggest a potential link between risk factors for familial and sporadic ovarian cancer Cancer Res. 2010 Jan 01; 70(1):221-8. . View in PubMed

Mesenchymal origin of hepatic stellate cells, submesothelial cells, and perivascular mesenchymal cells during mouse liver development Hepatology. 2009 Mar; 49(3):998-1011. . View in PubMed

EphA4 as an effector of Twist1 in the guidance of osteogenic precursor cells during calvarial bone growth and in craniosynostosis Development. 2009 Mar; 136(5):855-64. . View in PubMed

Analyses of regenerative wave patterns in adult hair follicle populations reveal macro-environmental regulation of stem cell activity Int J Dev Biol. 2009; 53(5-6):857-68. . View in PubMed

Germline competent embryonic stem cells derived from rat blastocysts Cell. 2008 Dec 26; 135(7):1299-310. . View in PubMed

Msx1 and Msx2 are required for endothelial-mesenchymal transformation of the atrioventricular cushions and patterning of the atrioventricular myocardium BMC Dev Biol. 2008 Jul 30; 8:75. . View in PubMed

Cyclic dermal BMP signalling regulates stem cell activation during hair regeneration Nature. 2008 Jan 17; 451(7176):340-4. . View in PubMed

The Bmp pathway in skull vault development Front Oral Biol. 2008; 12:197-208. . View in PubMed

Concerted action of Msx1 and Msx2 in regulating cranial neural crest cell differentiation during frontal bone development Mech Dev. 2007 Sep-Oct; 124(9-10):729-45. . View in PubMed

Msx1 and Msx2 regulate survival of secondary heart field precursors and post-migratory proliferation of cardiac neural crest in the outflow tract Dev Biol. 2007 Aug 15; 308(2):421-37. . View in PubMed

Conditional alleles of Msx1 and Msx2 Genesis. 2007 Aug; 45(8):477-81. . View in PubMed

Recent advances in craniofacial morphogenesis Dev Dyn. 2006 Sep; 235(9):2353-75. . View in PubMed

Cell mixing at a neural crest-mesoderm boundary and deficient ephrin-Eph signaling in the pathogenesis of craniosynostosis Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Apr 15; 15(8):1319-28. . View in PubMed

Combined deficiencies of Msx1 and Msx2 cause impaired patterning and survival of the cranial neural crest Development. 2005 Nov; 132(22):4937-50. . View in PubMed

Threshold-specific requirements for Bmp4 in mandibular development Dev Biol. 2005 Jul 15; 283(2):282-93. . View in PubMed

Adaptation: a developmental biologist in the Antarctic Genesis. 2005 Jul; 42(3):117-23. . View in PubMed

Cell-nonautonomous induction of ovarian and uterine serous cystadenomas in mice lacking a functional Brca1 in ovarian granulosa cells Curr Biol. 2005 Mar 29; 15(6):561-5. . View in PubMed

A phylogenetically conserved cis-regulatory module in the Msx2 promoter is sufficient for BMP-dependent transcription in murine and Drosophila embryos Development. 2004 Oct; 131(20):5153-65. . View in PubMed

Msx2 and Twist cooperatively control the development of the neural crest-derived skeletogenic mesenchyme of the murine skull vault Development. 2003 Dec; 130(24):6131-42. . View in PubMed

Microphthalmia resulting from MSX2-induced apoptosis in the optic vesicle Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2003 Jun; 44(6):2404-12. . View in PubMed

'Cyclic alopecia' in Msx2 mutants: defects in hair cycling and hair shaft differentiation Development. 2003 Jan; 130(2):379-89. . View in PubMed

Normal fate and altered function of the cardiac neural crest cell lineage in retinoic acid receptor mutant embryos Mech Dev. 2002 Sep; 117(1-2):115-22. . View in PubMed

Msx2 is an immediate downstream effector of Pax3 in the development of the murine cardiac neural crest Development. 2002 Jan; 129(2):527-38. . View in PubMed

Tissue origins and interactions in the mammalian skull vault Dev Biol. 2002 Jan 01; 241(1):106-16. . View in PubMed

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